Yoga Vasistha in Poem

Chapter II: The Behavior of the Seeker

3. Self-Effort, Fate and Destiny


Listen attentively to the instruction
Darkness of ignorance will be dispelled
All gain is due to self-effort put forth
All failure is due to slackness in effort
Mental, verbal and physical action
In accordance with scriptures
Or the instructions of holy men
Is self-effort - fate does not exist
Self-effort now can triumph over
Effort and fruits of previous births
As fate is self-effort of the past
So strive sincerely in the present
Obstruction in fruition has a cause
It is deluded action in the past
Correct this by right effort in the present
All have this opportunity and ability
Grinding your teeth exert here and now
Act wisely, exert in the present
Overcome what is called evil and fate
By wisdom-inspired present effort
Lazy people are worse than donkeys
Never yield to laziness, exert ceaselessly
Life ebbs away every moment
Wasteful is indulgence in sense-pleasures


Those who pin blame for failures on fate
Are brainless and abandoned by good fortune
Exert ceaselessly in every moment
For direct self-realization here and now
As is the cause, so is the effect
As is the effort, so is one’s fate
Fate being self-effort of the past
Therefore exert without remission
Unexpected gains too have their cause
It is always self-effort of the past
Not accident or good luck as people say
Not divine acts or chance events
If efforts in the present seem fruitless
Continue to exert wisely without ceasing
What are called obstructions by people
Are seeds sown in the past carelessly


Free yourself from likes and dislikes
Engage in right action, reach the truth
What is called divine will and destiny
Is nothing but the fruit of self-effort
Shape your destiny by right self-effort
Based on right understanding in the heart
Which rises within after being exposed
To scriptures and company of holy ones
You must keep your body free from illness
Mind too must be free from all distress
To pursue the path of self-knowledge
For freedom from the pains of rebirth
Threefold root and threefold cause
First is awakening in the inner intelligence
Second is a decision in the mind
Third is doing what ought to be done
Destiny can be shaped by these
First is knowledge of the scriptures
Second is instructions of the preceptor
Third is one’s own right self-effort
Two tendencies are brought forward
Pure tendencies lead to liberation
Impure tendencies invite trouble
Choose wisely and shape your destiny
Nothing and none can impel you
Pure consciousness is your true nature
Strengthen the pure, reap a good harvest
The impure will wither away by disuse
All that anyone has ever attained
Has been had by putting forth effort
Fate can never give you anything
As it is itself fruition of self-effort
Fate or such god has never been seen
All experience results from actions done
So promote your own good and salvation
By holy company and right self-effort
If fate did really exist as an entity
What would exertion mean at all
Why would people work hard at all
So why believe in fate or destiny
Renounce fatalism, exert correctly
Fruition of action is fate and destiny
Sages attained the highest by self-effort
You too can attain if you exert intelligently

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